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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Oro Valley AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Oro Valley AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Oro Valley AZ school you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Oro Valley AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Oro Valley AZ schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Oro Valley AZ programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Oro Valley home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.